"This five-foot-five-inch pain in my ass... "
Chapter 13: "I have this five-foot-five-inch pain in my ass right now, Doc..."
Poked, prodded, and examined. There was nothing she liked more than having lights shone in her eyes, being asked idiotic questions, and treated like a rack of rather bruised meat. Grrr. If she hadn't been able to tell with her inner sense that she was still pretty badly hurt, in spite of feeling enormously better than when she'd first woken up... she'd be inclined to get up and walk out as she had from Sunnydale General after her coma. Grr, and grrr again.
At least most of the tubes were out now. She still had an IV drip on a rolling stand, but she was (grudgingly) allowed to get up and go to the bathroom on her own. And eat - she was actually looking forward to whatever passed for "food" in this place. Also grudgingly, the doctor had accepted finally that most antibiotics and pain killers were wasted o her (she hadn't explained *why*) and canceled the pain meds they'd been giving her except for a very mild one that he insisted on.
She could see in back of his eyes that he itched to be able to schedule her for every test he could think of or invent. She finally grew tired of arguing with him and, after throwing the "Patient's Rights" pamphlet at him, told him to take it up with O'Brien and with her attorney if the word "No" had too many syllables for him. The combined mention of O'Brien and Wolfram and Hart did make him back off, finally. She found herself absurdly grateful that she and the saturnine detective seemed to have hit it off, even if in a rather wary fashion at first.
Giambione wandered back in as he'd promised a short while after the staff had trailed out behind the doctor to find her muttering viciously as she worked herself back into bed after a brief bathroom run.
"Fucking 'First do no harm' my tender young ass," she looked up at him, glaring.
"I think they took that part out when they revised the Oath," he responded, deadpan.
"It fucking shows," she grinned at him.
"So, how are you doing?" He raised an eyebrow, smirking.
"I'd throw something at you if I had anything heavy enough in reach." Faith glowered at him under her eyebrows, then laughed. "I want a two inch thick steak, a stack of cheese burgers, a decent beer - hell, I'd even settle for a commercial beer right now - and a cigar. And a fluffernutter. Other than that? Fucking wunnerful. You?"
"Well... I have this five-foot-five-inch pain in my ass right now, Doc, but... " He ducked, snickering, when she mimed tossing the bedside tray at him. "Make do with the hospital food for now, and after Obie changes off with me, I'll see what I can do about smuggling in the steak and the burgers."
Faith's eyes lit up. "I think I'm in love with you." She made puppy dog eyes at him, "And the beer? Sam Adams or even St. Pauli if you can't find anything better... "
"Nineteen. You're too young to drink," Frank remarked.
"Yes daddy. This would be a bad time to mention that I have ID saying I'm twenty-one, huh?"
"Wrong person, too." Giambione rolled his eyes. "Christ. I'll see what the import shelf at the package store has - just so you won't sneak out later and stick up a bar. Delinquent."
"Wicked. I've corrupted a cop," Faith gave him an unrepentant look. "Oh, wait. Corrupt cop - isn't that an oxymoron?"
"No. It's an axiom," Frank gave her a mock glare. "I'd say to knock it off or I'll have Obie spank you - but you'd probably enjoy that." Faith stuck her tongue out at him, laughing. Giambione gave her an even look, "One of these days, I'd like you to explain to me why you have such a low opinion of cops."
Faith sobered slightly, and gave him a serious look back. "You've been pretty nice to me, Giambione. And not just because I kept blondie from getting past me to O'Brien - you haven't given me a hard time once since we first met." She nodded. "Deal. We live through this, and I'll tell you, in detail. Have to warn you - you won't like it or my reasoning."
"I don't have to like it. I just want to know it." Giambione shrugged. "I came to the conclusion years ago that life doesn't give a flying rats ass what I do or don't like." He dug her cell phones out the drawer, and picked her laptop case up off of the pile of her stuff, "Here you go. I seem to remember I said I'd get these for you."
"Thanks," she smiled. She took out the laptop, and looked around for some place in reach to plug in the AC adapter.
Giambione took it from her and found an outlet within reach of the bed. "You want me to go out while you're making calls?"
Faith gave him a speculative look, then shook her head. "Naw. Not right now." She made an expansive gesture to the chair he'd been in earlier. "Make yourself at home - if I need to talk to someone privately, I'll let you know." He nodded and picked up his magazine again, setting the Hk back down within easy reach. Faith thought for a moment... "If you do go out later.. mind letting Dean know I'm up?"
"Sure. I've been getting homesick for being 'Bringer of the Donuts' down at the squad room - it'll be good to play secretary for you."
"Smart ass," she made a face at him, getting a smirk in return. She frowned, something that she'd wondered about niggling at her mind. Biting her lip, she tried to decide if she really wanted to ask and get an answer to the question...'No. I don't,'
she thought. 'But I have to know... '
Faith worried at her lip for a moment more, then turned to look carefully at Giambione with what she hoped was a neutral expression. "Hey... Frank?"
Giambione looked up from his magazine, "Yeah?"
"How many?" Faith heard her voice come out flat and hated the sound. "At the restaurant... how many?"
It must affect Giambione the same way, she thought, for the cop mask dropped over his features almost instantly. "Five. Two cooks and a waitress in the kitchen, a busboy who walked in on her while she was killing them, and an assistant manager who got in her way at the front on the way out."
"Crap." He nodded.
"Yeah. Lucky it was early and a slow night, or it might have been more." She nodded back at him, eyes stricken.'Damn. I had to ask.'
Faith frowned at the phone, blinking furiously and trying to decide who to call first. 'Get business out of the way first. Friends after,'
she decided. 'Then regrets for the dead...'
Making a choice, she picked a name off of her contact list and hit dial. After a few rings, a male voice picked up on the other end.
"Charles Gunn speaking."
"Hey Chuck. It's coma girl."
"Faith! Hey girl - back with the living, huh?" Gunn chuckled, "You looked like warmed over roadkill when I was up to look in on you."
"Gee. You certainly know how to make a girl feel all special and shit," Faith said in a sour tone, and hear Giambione snicker from his chair. "Heard you came up, thanks. Can you make another trip over?"
"Sure. Mind if I come by a bit after lunch?" Gunn asked. "I need to drop in and consult with the Winchesters today also."
"No probs - see you then?" Faith hesitated for a moment, then said, "I'm half surprised Angel and Wes didn't ride in with you."
"It was being discussed, girl." Gunn's voice was dry. "They were finishing wrapping up on a problem with just finished dealing with, so I came down instead to scope things out."
"Wicked. To baldly go where no attorneys have gone before," Faith snickered.
"Hey now. Don't be dissing the 'do, girl." There was a pause on the other end, "Glad to hear you sounding so good. Way you looked worried me."
"Yeah.... hey: you should have seen the other gal. I hit her
with a truck," Faith laughed, a bit grimly. "Also a bit surprised they sent the heavy guns, pardon the pun. Was expecting a local attorney."
"Yeah, well... we decided that having someone who had experience dealing with demons and vamps if needed was a good idea. So you got me." Gunn paused again, "Besides, there's a few things I need to talk over with you when I get there."
"Coolness. See you when you get here, then." They chatted a bit more, then Faith clicked off the phone. She picked another number off the list after a bit of thought, and dialed it.
The voice on the other end this time was cautious. "Yes?"
Faith grinned, then said, "Heeerrreee vampy vampy vampy! Hic!"
"Hey." Wow - was that actual pleasure in the big man's voice? "Good to hear you."
"Yup, your adopted foundling. I'm back to what I jokingly call consciousness again."
"Good. Someone once said that not dying was a good thing," Blade's voice was still slightly amused sounding. "Noticed you had a lot of police interest. Need a jailbreak?"
Faith laughed again, "No, these are friendlies, amazingly enough. They're guarding the tender young bod so I don't have a relapse." She paused for a minute, then added, "You guys come back up? Need to talk."
"Maybe. Not real interested in having intimate conversations with your bodyguards," Blade's voice lost its amusement.
"Hrrm. Yeah... " Faith was thoughtful for a moment. "Ask for a Detective O'Brien or Detective Giambione. I'll clear the road for you. They're... our kind of good guys." She saw Giambione raise his eyebrows and shake his head slightly from his chair and winked at him.
There was a long pause on the other end... followed by: "We'll be up tonight, see how it goes." He clicked off and she looked at her phone for a long moment or two, smiling slightly.
She realized after hunting through her list that she didn't have a cell number for Vince, so after making a mental note to get one when she had the chance, she sighed and picked another one off her list. Faith regretted having to leave this hanging the way that she had, even though it hadn't exactly been her choice.
A rich, throaty female voice answered on the fourth ring, and she said, "Ms. Bassett? This is Faith LeHane."
"Miss LeHane. I'm pleased to hear your voice," the other woman replied.
"Yeah. Apologies for not being able to meet you the other night like we'd planned. Something came up." That was the understatement of the month, Faith reflected. "And it's 'Faith', not Miss LeHane."
"So I'm given to understand. And nonsense, Faith. You can hardly be chastised for missing an appointment due to having a more pressing one with the Emergency Room."
"Yeah... " Faith shook her head. "Still.... I'm more sorry that we didn't get to take care of what we were going to, than for missing the meeting, if you catch my drift."
"Ah. Yes. I'm going to assume that you're being overheard on your end, then," Ms. Bassett remarked. "And, not to worry. I took the liberty of taking care of that matter while you were indisposed, after the other young gentleman had been moved into his brother's room."
"You did? Really? How?" Faith's surprise was clear to her own ears - Giambione had to be working at studiously ignoring her end of the conversation.
The woman healer's voice had a bemused tone. "Lets just say that an Avoidance charm works wonders for getting into places that are watched, if one is careful."
"wow. Cool - I don't know how to thank you for going to all that trouble," Faith began...
"You can thank me by making arrangements for me to come and see to you this afternoon. It is a bit harder to gain access when there's someone actually in the room with you constantly."
"Well, sure. I kind of already did that by letting them know to have you see me first if you came by again," Faith felt herself grinning suddenly.
"Excellent. I'll be by late this afternoon once I finish with my other appointments."
Faith ended that call feeling cheered. It was nice to see something break for the good on occasion. Her phone calling agenda was interrupted by the nurse bringing in lunch, and she put phone and laptop aside to dig in. For hospital food... either it wasn't bad or she was hungry enough that it didn't matter..................................................................................
Dean came up in while she was finishing the last of her meal and looking dubiously at what the hospital was optimistically calling a 'dessert'. At the knock, they both looked to the door and then Giambione picked up his firearm and cautiously went to ask "Who is it?" while standing slightly off to one side. When the answer came back, he shot Faith an inquiring look and getting an enthusiastic nod in return, opened it.
Dean wheeled himself in with a grudgingly thank you nod at Giambione and then looked at her in surprise. "Hey! You're awake!"
"Hey tough guy," Faith grinned at him. "So I am."
"When did this happen?" Dean looked torn between glad she was conscious and exasperated that no one had told him.
"Well... yesterday, but that didn't last very long before I passed out again." Faith gave the 'dessert' another dubious poke. "Since this morning this time, followed by the doctors and nurses poking at me for the next several hours."
"Ah." He gave her a sympathetic look.
"I'll give you two some space," Giambione interrupted them from the doorway. Faith shot him an amused look.
"Going to leave me us alone without strip searching him first? I understand he's a dangerous fellow with all sorts of illegal weapons and shit," she winked at Frank, ignoring Dean's outraged 'Hey!'. "Are you sure it's safe?"
"You just want to have fun watching the strip search. I'm on to you," Giambione shook his head and pulled the door shut behind him.
"Damn," Faith remarked, looking at Dean with a bland expression. "Shot that
plan all to hell."
"What would you have done if he'd taken you up on it?" Dean gave her another half amused look.
"Watched and made wolf whistles and stuck dollar bills in your undies. Or somewhere... " Faith amended, giving a pointed look at the backless hospital gown he was wearing.
"Never mind. I don't even want to hear where you'd find to stick them," Dean laughed. "I'm glad you're ok," he added in a more serious tone. "You looked pretty bad the other day."
"People keep telling me that," she said. "Thanks. It's good to know I'm going to live." Dean nodded.
"Know the feeling," he said in a rueful tone. "And I should be thanking you: that healer you found made her way up and did something for Sam. Warded our room, also."
"No worries. Told you I was going to, right?" Faith smiled. "How's... ?"
"He's better. He woke up for most of this morning, then went back into a regular sleep. He may be up and around in a day or two," Dean's face was relieved, and she felt better about things than she had since she'd found out the blonde had targeted them to get to her. "Also gather that we have you to thank for O'Brien leaning on the staff to get Sam moved from ICU. And for the lawyer."
"Heh. I don't think I'd mention that last to O'Brien," Faith snickered. "According to Giambione, I ruined their best laid plans for unfair leverage on you two."
Dean raised an eyebrow and looked concerned, "Were they pissed at you?"
"No. Frank was joking when he said it," Faith shook her head. "I'm getting the feeling I walk on water as far as the two of them are concerned. It's... an uncomfortable feeling."
"I heard a bit about the fight. Bits and pieces,anyway. I'd say it was earned," Dean gave her an even look. "What happened? Slightly more detailed version, I mean... "
"Can you wait til tonight for that, maybe?" Faith sighed. "I'll tell you about it... but Gunn's supposed to come up this afternoon, and then the healer lady to see me. I'd hate to start and then get all interrupted."
"Sure," Dean nodded agreeably. He raised up slightly so he could look at her tray, and made a face. "Don't eat that, for gods sakes. Use it to caulk the bathroom tiles."
"Ah. I wondered," Faith gave up on the dessert and pushed it to one side, grinning. They made more general conversation for an hour or so until Giambione rapped at the door.
The younger detective stuck his head in and said, "Evil bloodsucking lawyer alert."
"No. That would be his boss, except for the 'evil' part," Faith said. "Send him in?" Giambione nodded, and held the door open as Gunn came in through it, holding a flower arrangement.
"Hey, girl," Gunn grinned at her. "You do look a lot less like road kill today." He nodded at Dean, getting a return nod.
The corner of Faith's mouth quirked up in a half grin. "You do say the sweetest things."
"Part of the Plan," Gunn winked. "I'm softening you up so that when I pay you a real compliment it sweeps you off of your feet."
Faith made a face at him, and Dean excused himself. "I'll head back to our room to check on Sam and let you two talk." He caught Faith's eyes, "Come back over tonight and we'll talk some more?" She nodded.
Gunn let him out, saying "I'll be over to talk to you in a bit, when Faith and I are done. We need to go over a few things from yesterday." He shut the door behind Dean, and opened his briefcase to pull out a CD case. He brought it over to lay on the bedside table, saying, "Wes sent you some stuff that he managed to dig up on your problem. He also said to tell you that he and Angel were concerned. Fred and Lorne send their best also." Gunn indicated the flowers.
"Cool. When you check in, tell them... I'm ok, really," she gave the flowers a surprised look. Gunn nodded, and took out a small device from his briefcase and waved it about the room before saying anything else. Watching it carefully, he finally nodded again in satisfaction and turned back to her, putting it away.
Gunn opened his mouth to start to say something, then closed it again, looking thoughtful. Shaking his head, he started again, "Not quite sure how to say this one, so I'll just blurt it out." Faith gave him a curious look. "Spike's back."